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What are the offenses for buying and selling counterfeit drugs?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Firm News

It is common knowledge that the possession of drugs and other controlled substances is illegal. But is it the same case when it involves a counterfeit substance?

According to Tennessee law, a counterfeit substance has a trade name, trademark or another identifying mark that refers to a dispenser, distributor or manufacturer of a controlled substance. However, the dispenser, distributor or manufacturer is different from the dispenser, distributor or manufacturer of the controlled substance. Therefore, if a counterfeit is not an actual controlled substance, is it still illegal to buy or sell it?

Violations of buyers

Recipients of a counterfeit substance will get a Class A misdemeanor charge whether they acquired it through an exchange or sale. Additionally, the court may order them to undergo a mandatory drug rehabilitation program.

Offenses of sellers and distributors

Moreover, those who sell, deliver or distribute counterfeit substances commit a Class E felony. The counterfeit substance must be “substantially similar” to a controlled substance in markings, size, shape or color.

Misdeeds of manufacturers

In addition, makers of counterfeit substances also commit a Class E felony. They must have made the counterfeit with the intent to imitate a controlled substance’s appearance, markings, size, shape or color. Furthermore, they manufactured it so that it could be sold as a controlled substance.

Exceptions to the rule

Meanwhile, the law does not apply to instances involving licensed professionals who use, sell or dispense a counterfeit substance as a placebo for authorized medical treatment or care. The licensed professionals include physicians, dentists, nurses and pharmacists. Also, the makers and sellers of the said placebos will not be liable.

Other exceptions are if the packaging and labeling of a substance meet the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and if consumers can legally buy it at a grocery or drug store without a prescription. Finally, another exception is if the substance entered the market before the controlled substance that it allegedly imitated.

Facing a counterfeit drug charge

Navigating a drug charge involving counterfeit controlled substances may be tough and challenging. With legal guidance, you may assert your right to defend yourself and present evidence to help protect your record and reputation.